A comprehensive policy document was released by the European Commission today (28 October) flagging action to protect small food producers against large buyers, especially major retail chains.

The 'Communication on a better functioning food supply chain in Europe' from Brussels warns: "Significant imbalances in bargaining power between contracting parties are a common occurrence."

To resolve this, the Commission is to draft sets of standard voluntary contracts, which would "take into account the diversity of the food supply chain".

It also warns that its competition officials will examine existing "unfair contractual practices" in the EU and use Brussels' powers to demand changes if they break EU competition law.